(Mystic Aquarium) Over 8,000 votes were cast April 10 – 21 in Mystic Aquarium's public naming contest for Pup 49, a female harbor seal that had her rear, left flipper amputated after suffering a life-threatening infection. Aquarium volunteers who cared for Pup 49 during her rehabilitation selected five names, all names of harbors, for public voting—Coral, Grace, Hope, Madison and Mystic—and Coral came out on top.
Thousands of guests have enjoyed seeing Coral and learning her story at Mystic Aquarium's Aquatic Animal Study Center, where she has a special ramp that helps her exit the water with ease. Now approximately nine months old, she will reside there through Sunday, April 28, when she will then be moved off display for training. Guests can expect to Coral her again this fall.
Originally known as Pup 49 because of her rehabilitation number, Coral was admitted to Mystic Aquarium's Seal Rescue Clinic on July 16, 2012, after being rescued in Plymouth, Mass., by New England Aquarium 10 days earlier. A respiratory ailment and the swollen flipper were identified during her admittance examination. Despite intensive treatment for her flipper, she developed a life-threatening infection in her bone and ankle joint that continued to get worse with time.
On November 26, 2012, Mystic Aquarium's veterinary team performed surgery to amputate Coral's infected flipper. The surgery was successful and she has recovered beautifully, but she was deemed non-releasable by NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service because she is a weaker, less agile swimmer and requires more effort to haul out of the water compared to seals with two rear flippers. NOAA has since granted Mystic Aquarium permission to permanently care for her.